"Big data gives you a false sense of security" is a quote from Lululemon's CEO Christine Day. I could not disagree more.
Though their revenue is through the roof right now, I wonder how long they can sustain this sort of growth without looking at their customer through a data viewpoint.
In a WSJ article this week, Dana Mattioli reported on the 4Q earnings of the yoga-wear retailer. The company experienced an incredible increase with fourth-quarter profit of $73.5 million or 51 cents a share. Revenue for the quarter jumped 51% to $371.5 million.
Christine Day is a believer in operating stores by listening to the customer. They don't use modern day customer relationship management (CRM) tactics, focus groups or track website visits. Rather the CEO spends hours in various stores observing customer shopping habits, training their sales staff to eavesdrop on customer conversations in the fitting room area, and a number of other things.
Though the brand is experiencing good times now, what would their bottom line look like if they were analyzing their customers to find more new customers? Or to plan for new store locations? Or a number of other strategic business decisions that CEO's of retail organizations make everyday? Without looking at their data, I guess they'll never know what is being left on the table.